820 F Street: Follow Up


File:International Spy Museum.JPG

The 800 block of F Street, NW, Washington, DC
Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid at en.wikipedia


In my post yesterday about Selinger’s jewelry store at 820 F Street in Washington, DC, I had asked about that location and what might have been reflected in the windows of the store.  My ever-reliable medical consultant/cemetery photographer is now also my Washington architectural researcher.  He sent me this link that provided this information about the history of one of the buildings on that block, the Adam House, that may have housed the Selinger store:

“The building, built in 1878, was originally leased to J. Bradley Adams, its namesake. Adams, a book salesman and stationer, later owned the building. The building housed an impressive amount of retail establishments and offices throughout the years. The building is done in a High Victorian Italianate style, with friezes and ornate moldings, as well as a gable with the year the structure was built (either 1876 or 1878, it’s unclear).”


My brother also found this website, which includes the same photograph of Selinger’s jewelry store and dates it as taken in 1920[1], after World War I, when there was suddenly a surplus of military watches available for sale to the public.  On this page, I also found an ad for Selinger’s from the Washington Post in May, 1920, reinforcing the conclusion that the photo was taken in 1920.  Neither of these pages indicates who took the photograph or for what purpose.  (I had originally thought that the photograph was a family photograph, but it appears not to have been.)

UPDATE: My cousin and fellow genealogist Jean Cohen found this information about the Selinger photograph from the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/npc2008009720/

Title: Selinger front, 820 F, N.W., [Washington, D.C.]
Date Created/Published: [ca. 1920]
Medium: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 6 in.
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-npcc-29219 (digital file from original)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: LC-F82- 4412 [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative


The Library of Congress page also states that the photograph was a gift from Herbert A. French in 1947.  Herbert French was a  photographer as well as the owner of the National Photo Company; he donated his entire collection to the Library of Congress, including the photograph of Selinger’s.




The ad says that the store was located at the corner of 9th and F Street, so it might have been in the Warder Building,  which was built in 1892  near the Adams House.





Both buildings are today used to house the International Spy Museum.


Int  Spt Museum 820 F St


The building across the street, seen in the reflection of the Selinger’s window, is the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, part of the Smithsonian.  It was originally the building for the US Patent Office.


Old Patent Office Building, Washington D.C.

Old Patent Office Building, Washington D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

F Street NW, view from Patent Office - Washing...

F Street NW, view from Patent Office – Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you to my brother Ira for finding most of these sources.








[1] For those who may wonder, a photograph taken in 1920 would no longer have a valid US copyright and is thus in the public domain.  Shorpy’s may be selling copies of it, but that does not include or suggest a copyright still exists on the photo.




3 thoughts on “820 F Street: Follow Up

  1. If you search Shorpy with “Washington DC Selinger” there is a second photo of the onlookers. Based on this photo – it appears to be the Warden Building. Thanks for sharing – I loved the pictures and the reference to the other cousin! Jane & Scott Cohen


    • Thanks, Jane and Scott! I had not seen that one. I wish there was some attribution as to who took the photograph, but it certainly appears to have been a professional, not a family member, given this second shot. I will have to ask Cito whether there are any Selingers still living in DC.


  2. Pingback: A wonderful email from a Selinger cousin « Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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